Thursday, 21 June 2018

Claremont Exchange 2018

This year I was fortunate to take part in the annual exchange between Stonefields and Claremont College alongside Anita.  This exchange has been one that has existed for a few years now and a lot of my colleagues have visited Sydney.  The intention of the exchange for the two schools to share both information and aspects of our practice with each other so Anita and I created a video as an application for the reasons why we wanted to go.

Fast forward to Week Eight of Term Two and I was in Sydney at the school - the staff were amazing and set the bar high for hosting which we returned the favour next term.  Both Anita and I remarked on how fortunate we were to be immersed in a school for three days and being able to capture our noticings as we moved around.  So what were some of my take outs from this experience?

Use of Space:
Claremont has a smaller footprint than Stonefields therefore have been really smart about the use of space in their teaching environments.  The first thing I noticed was the effective use of storage - all the classrooms have been purpose built so it was great to see storage being implemented under seating, whiteboards as teaching spaces on the outside of cupboards etc.  This has really made me reflect on whether I am using space to the best of my ability while teaching and how I can really get the most of the environment (ie, the initial hunch for my inquiry this year).

Team Teaching:
All the classrooms at Claremont have two or more teachers in them so the potential arises for collaboration.  It was great to see communication happen between teachers on the fly as the learners transitioned from one subject to another and again I reflected on whether I was doing this in my practice currently.  To be honest, I feel that I am teaching solo at the moment and wonder what impact it would have on the kids if we opened up the potential for more team teaching within the hub.  It was great teaching alongside a student teacher these last two terms so I need to look for future opportunities for us a as hub team to work collaboratively.

Digital versus Practical Applications in my Practice:
One of the most stand out moments for me was to see how the learners gravitated more towards practical applications of tasks rather than opting for a digital method.  To my untrained eye, I first thought I was seeing a lot of worksheets however as I got to speak to both the teachers and the learners, it was made aware that these were custom made resources that scaffolded learners into tasks.

Currently I am finding that the learners are opting for digital due to it being new or accessible however am I scaffolding them into these applications appropriately?  I feel that I am making assumptions that we are 1:1 devices that all learning should be accessible through that forum but are there better ways to make these links more explicit as well as catering for all learners.

Next Steps:
The main follow up from this blog post is to prepare for Claremont's visit in Term 3 where we continue to look for opportunities for the kids to interact with each others.  They are really interested in how we bring Te Reo into our practice and it was be a great opportunity for the kids to share their knowledge with others.

Lots of things to ponder as I move into the next term however the best thing was that I was able to share this experience with another teacher.  Being able to discuss these areas of wonder in the moment helped me think about how I could bring some these to life when I get back into the hub.  Stay tuned for more updates as I will definitely link back to this blog post with future reflections.